Take Our Word For It Issue 195
Jan 25, 2004 23:13 PST
Take Our Word For It Issue 195
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We have made it to another issue!
**This Week's Issue**
NOTE: The links in this newsletter are good for January 24-February 7
unless the next issue is delayed.
In Spotlight, you will find an "encore" presentation, "Middle Earth"
In Words to the Wise, we bring you another "encore" presentation of the
bitch (female dog)
In Curmudgeons' Corner Guestmudgeon Mike P just wants us to be logical
In Sez You... we hear about chrono and Kronos, Postal Code, hysteron
proteron in "Southpark", zeugma and syllepsis and syzygy, ZIP the
acronym, sharras, and short end of the BAT.
In Laughing Stock Ebay has it all!
**Game Review (in lieu of the NOE)**
There's another word game making its debut on the market, and this one
is head and shoulders (board and pieces?) above the rest. It's called
WildWords (http://www.wildwords.us/). We played it with another couple
last weekend (Mike won, of course) and we all had a rollicking good
time. WildWords is based on the Scrabble concept but with some major
differences that many Scrabble fans will enjoy, elliciting comments from
our group such as, "I always wished that Scrabble would do that" or
"What a great idea!". The familiar objective is to end up with the most
points after one player uses all of his or her tiles. The rules are
similar to those of Scrabble but with some significant changes, which
we'll discuss below.
Most significant is the use of wildcard tiles AND wildcard spaces on the
board! Don't assume that the wildcards are the same as "blanks" in
classic Scrabble. They are not. The wildcard tiles are marked with an
asterisk, and they may be used for any letter or any SEQUENCE of
letters, and their value may be different in the horizontal and vertical
directions! It sounds like potential chaos, but it's not. Instead, it
gives players much more freedom to strategize, not to mention to use up
the board space (instead of getting crowded into one quarter or one half
of the board, as often happens in Scrabble). If you're having trouble
envisioning how this works, take this example:
Mike plays the letters T A N T * T . He doesn't have to tell us what
the asterisk stands for. If any player believes that Mike is bluffing
and that no combination of letters represented by the * can form a
legitimate word as he has it, s/he may challenge Mike. If there are
more than 2 players, the non-challengers must determine whether to join
in the challenge or not. If the challengee can validate his word,
challengers, depending on the number of players in the game, either lose
a turn or lose 20 points. If the word can not be validated, the
challenged tiles are removed from the board and that player loses a
turn. (If you're wondering what the * stands for in this example, it is
AMOUN, forming the word TANTAMOUNT.)
In this next example, a "Turn-To-Wild" square on the board is used and
is represented here by the symbol #. Mike plays V I L # U S. He can
place ANY letter on the Turn-To-Wild square, but he turns it face down
so that other players cannot see it and therefor cannot determine
exactly what tiles are left in the "pot" (the numbers of each letter are
provided in the game's instruction booklet). That square can, like the
asterisk tile, represent any letter or sequence of letters. The word
that Mike intended was VILLAINOUS, with the # representing LAINO.
Players can easily bluff with the asterisk tiles and the Turn-To-Wild
squares. It keeps the game challenging and exciting! Note that
wildcard tiles/squares have no point value. However, if another player
wishes to use an asterisk tile or Turn-To-Wild space that is already
in play, s/he may assign any new letter or sequence of letters to it
that s/he wishes. Additionally, if a single player uses a wild card to
make more than one word in a single play, the value of the wild card may
be different for each word!
Some other interesting differences between WildWords and Scrabble are:
Penalty Squares: there are four squares on the board which, if used,
require a player to subtract 20 points from his total.
Exchanging Tiles: players can turn in all of their tiles and pick a
fresh batch without losing a turn.
Additionally, the game board and pieces are attractive and well-made of
durable and pleasing materials. The four tile racks are nicely weighted
and even have felt on their bottoms to prevent them from slipping and
sliding on the table. Further, Wild Words comes with 6 blank tiles to
use as replacements for any you may lose. Our only complaints about the
game are that the board is rectangular instead of square, making it a
bit difficult to turn toward each player, and the colors of the special
squares on the board are rather similar to one another, making it
difficult to determine at a glance what a square's value is. These are
minor complaints that players can deal with and which will be forgotten
as the game heats up.
Currently you can purchase the game from its creator at
http://www.wildwords.us (TOWFI is not making any money from the sale of
this game) . If and when it becomes available through Amazon.com, we
will offer it in our book store.
Keep sending the funny stuff! This week's winner, Dave Paul, will
receive a $10 gift certificate to Amazon.com. Thanks, Dave! You and
last issue's winner (Martha) will be receiving your gift certificates
shortly. Thank you for your patience.
Thanks to Mike P for his contribution this week. Keep complaining!
**Why the "Encore" Presentations?**
Melanie's leaving for yet another out-of-town business trip (if you are
wondering what she does for a day job, she is a senior legal assistant
and goes to trial all over California and in neighboring states as well,
sometimes even further) and the preparations took a lot of time that
would otherwise have been devoted to TOWFI.
We hope to bring you a NOE next weekend. After that we hope to have
another issue for you, but it may be more "encore" presentations (if
anyone has a suggestion for another name for these "repeat" columns, let
Don't forget to check the book store:
http://www.takeourword.com/bookStore.html Sales are always slow in the
first quarter. Help increase sales a bit by making any of your book
purchases - not just etymological ones - through our book store. Simply
use the Amazon.com search link on our book store page, or click on any
book link in our book store and then, once in Amazon.com, shop around.
If you start from our book store we will get credit for anything you
purchase at Amazon.com.
Until next time,
Take Our Word For It!
Melanie and Mike